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Use of Herbs in General

If a recipe or dish calls for tarragon, parsley, dill, rosemary, and culantro...don't you feel like one should accentuate one herb or flavor? My standard is "one herb, one love." Same with spicy peppers - I don't like to combine flavors. Does anyone else feel that?

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  1. I don't season that way.
    If the dish is "tarragon chicken" or "lemon dill salmon" then I'd be tempted to bump up that flavour, but even then it's probably already done.
    But a bouquet garni is used for a reason, not to enunciate one of the herbs over the blend.

    1. I respectfully disagree. Such classics as garam masala, herbs d' Provence, adobo, 5 spice powder, and curry require a blend of herbs and spices. The whole is better than the parts.

      To just throw a variety of things into the pot because you have them is a crime. At least to me. And reflects my learning process when I was starting out.

      1. You've got a recipe using all of those herbs together? What's the main ingredient these herbs are flavoring?

        To your question, I have to agree with Kris, as long as the herbs are ones that generally play well with others, but I'd be closely examining any recipe that put multiple assertive herbs together.

        Full disclosure: I like everything in that list but culantro. I won't use it or cilantro in anything, ever.

        4 Replies
        1. re: mcsheridan

          You must be one of those 10% where cilantro tastes like soap. I have a very good indian friend who cannot stand the taste of cilantro!

          I ran across a recipe for roast chicken, and it had those ingredients listed.

          1. re: rudeboy

            I honestly cannot even fathom putting tarragon, dill and rosemary together.

            (And I'm a cilantro hater as well. It's well documented on the WFD threads on Home Cooking.)

            Like mcsheridan notes below, Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (hello, Simon & Garfunkel!) together for roasting poultry works.

            1. re: LindaWhit

              The song, Scarborough Fair, which incorporates in the lyrics "parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme" is a traditional English song. It reflects some of the main herbs we can grow in Northern Europe and regularly use in our cooking.

              No coriander or basil for us in those days.

            2. re: rudeboy

              Yup. Nothing can ever induce me to eat that herb. Tastes like someone dipped pennies in dishwashing liquid.

              As to the roast chicken recipe in question, I'd have the recipe creator flogged in the public square. :)

          2. Nope. Don't feel this way at all.

            Different peppers bring different flavors that when well-chosen offer a more full flavor than any one alone.

            Herbs that grow together compliment each other. For thousands of years, in every culture, traditional recipes have found that a combination of herbs, spices, and peppers create a flavor profile that is delicious. And becomes the "taste" of that cuisine.

            1. Sometimes it's good to keep things simple, but sometimes different flavors can combine to create even greater things. Think of what we'd miss out on if we didn't combine herbs or spices: pretty much all the best of Southeast Asia, the subcontinent and the Middle East.

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